Founder’s Message

Our founder Barbara Yeaman serves as an inspiration to all of us at the Conservancy. When she came to our Upper Delaware River region, she saw how special it was—and she knew she needed to take action to keep it that way. You may have read our origin story, but here is Barbara's story in her own words.

Dear Friends,

I love this place. We are only two hours from the largest metropolis in the U.S. in a region of rare beauty, with sparkling waters, clear air, and unbroken forests and fields. Thirty years ago I came up here to visit and fell in love with the area. I looked around and thought, “This is swimmable, drinkable water, we have it here.” Yet, knowing that these special qualities are vulnerable to future inappropriate growth, I thought to myself, "Now is the time to protect these amenities that other regions have already lost."

Barbara Yeaman and Sean McGuiness

I looked to large, established organizations that could tackle the job, but found none willing to work in the far NE wilds of PA and NY. Finally, I realized that if protection was to occur, we would have to do it ourselves.

Gearing up to create the Delaware Highlands Conservancy is one of the proudest moments of my life.

We began with just $250, and I used my twelve acres along the Delaware River to bring as many people in to visit and see what this kind of environmental quality is really like. Now, twenty years later—joined by hundreds of other members and with more than 14,000 protected acres—this dream has come true.

Merging with the Eagle Institute in 2012 was another exciting time. The eagle and the Conservancy are connected at the heart. What we're trying to preserve is what the eagles need in order to survive and multiply here. They need clean water, open space, tall trees, clean, healthy habitat, and it's all found here—it's what we work to protect.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Conservancy as we look toward the next twenty years of protecting healthy working lands, clean waters, and wildlife habitat. You are making a difference in the community where you live—a difference that will become more valuable as generations grow, and open space becomes rarer and rarer. You’re making a gift to the future—to the quality of the future—when you make a gift to the Conservancy, or when you choose to conserve your land.


Barbara Yeaman
Conservancy Founder



surrounded by irises

Thank You, Barbara

We thank Barbara for her foresight and dedication, and continue to honor her vision for a healthy and protected Upper Delaware River region, now and for future generations.

We ask that you join us in honoring Barbara—the heart of why our organization exists, and the heart of our successes to date—with a gift to the Conservancy as we look forward to another twenty years of protecting and stewarding the healthy lands and clean waters of our region.

Interested in hearing more of Barbara's story?

Check out her podcast, "A Land Worth Protecting."